go ahead, ask

Got a question?  Go ahead and ask me.  There are some questions I can't answer because they're under NDA or because I don't know, but I'll at least tell you that I can't answer your question.  Some questions will be answered in the comments.  If I find myself writing a lot in response to your question, I'll write a new post.  

If you don't ask your question this week (which is to say, the week of 19 November 2007), I don't promise an answer.  Life is going to be busy over the next few months.  I do this whenever I've got a quiet week in the office, which tends to mean that it happens around US holidays.  

Comments (23)

  1. stet says:

    Did the answers on OneNote for Mac sway you in any way? Because hoo, that is an app worth switching to PC for all on its own.

  2. sl says:

    do you mean 2007?  🙂

  3. Nima says:

    First, thanks for doing this.

    Second, my question:

    What can we expect in terms of interoperability between the new Office and Apple’s iWork suite. If I’m already using, say, <a href="http://equinox-of-insanity.com/2007/10/how-to-set-up-a-novel-template-in-apple-pages/">Pages to write a novel</a>, what will I have to do to continue working on it in Office?

  4. @stet – It’s not about swaying me.  It’s about collecting data.  Sadly, the vast majority of the answers to that thread on my blog weren’t very useful.  Just saying "yes, I want OneNote" doesn’t give me any information that I can work with.  I’m not looking for a vote on the subject; if I wanted that, then I wouldn’t rely on my blog for such data. 🙂  I was hoping to get more anecdotal use cases, and I only got a scant handful of them.  

  5. @nima – You’ll have to save it as a Word document and be prepared to spend some time fixing the formatting in Word.  Your blog post notes several places where Word is more robust in terms of a template for writing a novel, and we won’t be able to automatically fill in the places where you’ve had to do a workaround in Pages for features that aren’t found there.  What kind of interoperability would you like to see?

    @sl – I’ve already mentally switched over to 2008 – not only because of Office 2008, but also because of OOPSLA 2008 (which we officially began referring to as "this year’s conference" when OOPSLA 2007 finished).  I’ve even written out cheques with 2008 as the date — this is odd for me, usually it’s February before I stop writing in last year’s date.  Thanks for correcting me, I’ve updated the post.  🙂

  6. Back in the day, Frame made it easy to work with master-sub documents. This feature seems to be de-emphasized in the latest Office 2007. Of course, I need it. Everyone has their favorite feature, and that’s mine.

    Will Office continue to support master / sub-documents, and will it get the basic features Frame had (easy to force styles from the master) and in particular better end note and glossary support? I find the Word way of doing these difficult by comparison (using the Style organizer and practically top secret key combinations). I prefer the direct manipulation of 15 year old Frame than the copy and paste indirect operations of the Style organizer.

    Frame did these things really well. It’s a shame Adobe bought it as they seem to be slowly killing a once great book writing app.


  7. @Andrew – It’s good to know that I’m not the only Frame-lover out there.    I’ve got a PPC Mac at home solely for some items that I still have in Frame — one of them is my résumé, in fact.  Some day, I suppose I’m going to have to shift them over to something else.  I haven’t really gotten into InDesign yet, so maybe that’s next.  

    You’re going to see some improvements to some of the items that you’re asking about.  (Sorry, I can’t specifically comment on which ones, since we haven’t publicly announced that level of detail yet.  Ask me again in January for a more full answer — and if you come to Macworld, swing by our booth and you can get an extremely detailed answer, complete with demo, from someone on the Word team.)  You’ll have to tell me how much this goes towards meeting your needs.  Try out Office 2008, and if you still have unmet needs, use the "Send Feedback About Word" option on the Help menu to tell us about them.  If you work for a large company, you should also tell your Microsoft account representative about it.  

  8. john says:

    Office 08 is out in January. Looking at the preliminary reviews in appleinsider.com, it seems that there’s quite a bit more work that needs to be done to make the software feel native.

    Question 1: When is the *next* version of Office planned for?

    Question 2: When will we get right-to-left support in Office?

    Question 3: Is it true that Entourage databases still don’t use the same file format as Outlook?

    Question 4: I was one of the people interested in OneNote. What would need to be done for you guys to be able to collect good data on how many people need OneNote?

  9. @john – Lots of questions!  Let me first point out that AppleInsider is a rumour site, and their information is … well, suspect at best.  

    Q1: We’re in the very early stages of planning the next version, so I don’t have a firm answer.  Release dates are dependent on lots of things: resources, needs we have to address, and outside dependencies (such as Apple).  

    Q2: For any particular feature request, the answer is broken down into two pieces: technology and business need.  For bi-directional language support, Apple has come a long way towards fixing the technology needs.  Business needs, on the other hand, are a bigger question.  The vast majority of Macs are sold in North America and Europe, where the need for bi-directional language support is very small.  We have to make business decisions based on how much they’ll impact our users.  Should we spend our resources on bi-directional language support?  It’s a question we constantly revisit.  

    Q3: Yes.

    Q4: There’s nothing for you to do to help us collect the data.  In that prior blog post, I was looking for interesting anecdotal usage to supplement the existing data and planned future data collection, and did receive some of what I was looking for.

  10. BAM says:

    What happen to the concet of integrated suite. In Winworld MS developped OLE (where he Mac implementation in Ofice is about 15 years behind). Apple developped OpenDoc and it failed. Next step 3.0 had a frame work on this…

    Whas your view on this? Why users did not catch up?

  11. Chris Mahoney says:

    Thanks for giving us this opportunity to ask questions.

    Is there any chance of Office 2008 being available for download by MSDN subscribers (either in beta or once it’s gone RTM)?



  12. Nima says:

    I can understand having to export to a Office format, though it would be nice to just be able to open an iWork file with Office and have it import in what it can.

    Obviously, the least disruptive to work flow switching apps can be the easier it is to switch, but I realize it’s a give and take.

  13. @Chris – Hmmm, I have no idea.  I’ll check.

  14. Steve from Italy says:

    Hello Nadyne and thank you for your time dedicated to questions 🙂

    I’d like to know if documents created with Windows  versions of Office (2007, 2003 or previous) will be 100% compatible with their opening in Office 2008 for Mac.

    No adjustments? And also, will password protected files with strong encryption (created in Windows versions of Office) be opened correctly in Office Mac 2008?

    I’m looking forward to February 2008 (argh, they say it will come out one month later in Italy, eheheh).


  15. @Steve – The goal is 100% file format fidelity with currently-supported versions of Office.  We don’t support opening an extremely old file (say, PowerPoint version 1).  If there are places where we haven’t met that goal, then you’ll have to tell us about it so that we can try fixing it.  

    Personally, I switched over to using Office 2008 exclusively several months ago.  On our latest internal builds, I haven’t received a file created in Office 2007 that I haven’t been able to open/edit properly.  Of course, I’m not on the test team, so this is just what I’m coming across as a part of my worklife.

  16. hohenja says:

    Will there ever be MAPI support in ANY of the Mac:office suite, EVER?

  17. Margo Okazawa-Rey says:

    Hello Mac Girl in another world

    Why can’t I copy text from Word then paste to my email program, or from web page to my Word document?

  18. @Margo – Are you saying that the text doesn’t copy/paste at all, or that the text doesn’t look right after it’s been copied/pasted?  If it’s the former, then you’re running into a really weird issue, and you should call tech support.  If it’s the latter, then it’s a formatting issue that you might be able to address when pasting text into Word by selecting Edit -> Paste Special …, then trying one of the options on that screen.  

  19. odysseus says:

    Why isn’t Office easier to use? For example, in Word, why do I have to drill down through several layers of dialogs and popups to change various attributes of a style?

  20. SteveB_UK says:

    When are the MacBU going to look into true SharePoint compatibility?

    We use it a lot at work, but I am still having to work in VMWare to get the best out of it!

  21. Chris Mahoney says:

    Any news on getting 2008 through MSDN yet? With the move away from VBA it’s probably a good idea to let developers play with it 🙂

  22. Premiere-30 says:

    When Will Office 2008 be available for download on the Volume Licensing site?

  23. @Chris – The beta won’t be available on MSDN, I’m not sure about the RTM version yet.  

    @Premiere-30 – February 1.

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